(David Cronenberg, Canada, 2012)
A disappointment from Cronenberg, whom I admire, but who lately hasn't been of much interest to me. I've always run hot and cold on his films, which can madden and inspire in equal measure. His singularity of vision is nothing if not admirable, but it can also make for a hermetic and chilly experience; Cronenberg is at times a bit too self-amused and cool for my taste. At his best, he achieves a quietly powerful poetry of luridness and obsession - the work of an intellectual and analytical filmmaker who also revels in the tangibility and grotesque comedy of human fallibilty.
But Cosmopolis is a wash; pseudo-intellectual claptrap that boils down to fairly tame platitudes about wealth creating abstraction and failing to provide for intimate connection. Mostly, I blame DeLillo, but Cronenberg deserves some knocks for going along with the whole silly enterprise. A few times, the exaggerated flatness of the whole thing becomes eerily effective, such as the long take where Pattinson's character surveys the dance floor, or in the theater-of-the-absurd exchange in the barbarshop. And when Giamatti finally shows up, his sweating, manic performance plays pretty nicely off of Pattinson's reptilian mannerisms, creating a scene that approximates the mood and idea, if only fleetingly and weakly, what the whole thing could have been.